In this review we look at the Nintendo Switch, a gaming console you can play both at home and on-the-go.
Nintendo Switch – content box
Nintendo has ensured that you already have two Joy-Cons (controllers) when you purchase the Nintendo Switch. You will of course also find the Nintendo Switch tablet and the Nintendo Switch holder in the box. That holder, also called the dock, is the place where you place the device when you want to play on the television. You will also find two wristbands for the Joy-Cons and a Joy-Con-holder in the box. As soon as you slide the Joy-Cons into that holder, you create a kind of controller. There is also an HDMI and power cable and booklets available. Built into the Nintendo Switch is 32 GB of storage space.
Nintendo Switch – the design
The Nintendo Switch has a very unique design and that the device mainly thanks to the fact that you can use the game console not only on the TV. You can also choose to use it as a handheld or to put it on the table, so that you can work with a friend with a multiplayer game. On the back of the Switch is a holder, with which you can put it in a certain corner on the table. The angle is not ideal, but it is enough to achieve its goal.
The tablet is the most important part of the Switch. It has a 6.2 “screen and weighs about 300 grams. You can slide Joy-Cons on that tablet. With the standard package of the Nintendo Switch you can choose two gray Joy-Cons or a version with one neon red and a neon blue controller. Those controllers feel much less plastic than we were used to at the Nintendo Wii. All other parts, including the tablet and the dock, are simply in the color gray. Nintendo did not make a distinction in this.
It is striking that Nintendo has chosen the usb-type-c-port, with which you can charge the console on the road, placed at the bottom. That’s easy when you put the console in the holder and want to play on the TV – but when you play on the tablet and have it on the table, you can not charge it. There will probably be a reason behind it, but in some cases this results in some uncomfortable situations. It is therefore not possible to charge the Switch when you have put the tablet down.
On top of that we find the on / off button and the volume buttons. Especially the volume buttons are easily accessible and slightly out. The on / off button is more in the edge of the Switch, so you would also be less likely to accidentally press it. On the right is the fan, which can sometimes make a lot of noise, as well as the opening for the game cartridges. It opens with a very little effort. The cover itself sometimes also gets in the way when changing the cartridge, but it is always closed properly.
Nintendo Switch – the Joy-Con
When purchasing the Nintendo Switch you automatically receive two Joy-Cons. The design is very different from what we were used to in the past and that also provides other functionalities. For example, it is possible to make one large controller from the two Joy-Cons or to use the two controllers separately for example for multiplayer use. The controllers weigh around fifty grams each and have a kind of rails on the side. This allows you to easily secure the Joy-Cons to the Switch.
Both controllers have an analog stick and four action buttons. The Joy-Con controller with the minus button also has a button with which screenshots can be made (similar to the Share button on the PlayStation 4 controller). The other controller, with the plus at the top, has the home button, with which you can directly go back to the main menu. On the spot where the rails are, there are also two shoulder buttons. You control them with your fingertips – that takes some getting used to and causes less cramp than expected.
Nintendo Switch – in use
The Nintendo Switch is a versatile device. Precisely because you can use it in three ways, it has become a different device than was already on the market in recent years. For example, Sony chose a PlayStation and a PSP (PlayStation Portable), but the company did not go as far as combining the portable with the gaming on television. This is different with the Nintendo Switch. Do you want to get started on a big picture? Then you click the tablet in his dock and take the Joy-Cons. Do you have no TV at your disposal? Then you can take the tablet and put the Joy-Cons on it. If you prefer to play together with someone else, you end up at tabletop mode again.
From the first day that the Nintendo Switch was in stores, there were also many reports in the media about problems with the game console. For example, there were complaints about the left Joy-Con controller that would not always respond. We did not suffer at all during the game, even in the early days of the Switch’s launch. What we had to watch out for is that the Switch would not be completely damaged in no time.
As soon as you want to charge it in the dock, it is important to use the tablet carefully. After all, there is no protection at the place where you put the screen of the tablet. To prevent scratches, we quickly purchased a screen protector.
When you turn on the Nintendo Switch, the real work begins. You can get started with settings including the e-Shop, and of course the software you want to play. Once in such a game, and especially in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , you’ll be a bit impressed. The image quality is particularly neat on the tablet screen.
What is more striking is that the Switch reacts very quickly. You notice that when you switch from tablet screen to TV. That switching is now and then necessary. Although you can play well in, for example, the train, you notice that the screen of the tablet is a little too small to see everything properly. You can not play games for a long time on one battery charge. At Zelda, about three hours is the maximum. With other games this is roughly six hours.
Given that Nintendo has taken a new step with the Joy-Cons, we were very curious how the controllers would be in control of gaming. In all positions where we used them, we did not suffer from complaints at all. As soon as you attach them to the Switch, which is very simple due to the rails mechanism, it is as if you are walking around with a handheld. All buttons are perfectly usable in that position. When you use the Joy-Cons for multiplayer use, they turn out to be very small. After all, you only have one Joy-Con in your hands and have to take a good look at how you position both hands. But once you are playing, you have long since forgotten.
Nintendo Switch – the games
A major disadvantage that we encountered with the Nintendo Switch, is still the game offer. Although Nintendo is now gradually expanding the game offer with new titles, this offer was not just to write home about just after the release. The biggest titles that were ready from day one were The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild , Snipper Clips and 1-2 Switch . The former is certainly worth the effort, but we are really looking forward to more new titles.
Fortunately Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has already appeared and will follow Splatoon 2 in the future. In any case, you are not buying the Switch because of the impressive range of games.
In terms of graphics, the Nintendo Switch still has to be inferior to consoles such as the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One, but the Nintendo Wii U is surely defeated. The company chose the Nvidia Tegra chip in its latest game consoles. This shows that Nintendo is mainly focused on developing a game computer that can be used in two ways: as a game computer at home and on the go. On the way you end up at the tablet with a screen resolution of 720p. On a television the resolution is 1080p. Although there is a difference on paper, it does not really stand out in practice. Playing on the tablet was even preferable in terms of graphics every now and then.
Nintendo Switch – conclusion
All in all, we are positive after testing the Nintendo Switch. The fact that a company has finally chosen to combine portable and for TV gaming, provides a unique game console with a unique design and thus also a unique playing experience. It ensures that you can use the Switch anytime and anywhere, although you naturally deliver something compared to, for example, a PlayStation 4. Hardcore gamers may not end up directly with the Switch, but we were concerned about the quality of the games, and especially on the tablet screen, surely not dissatisfied. The fact that the game console is also good for multiplayer games when it is purchased because of its two Joy-Cons is nice to mention. Those controllers are also comfortable in the hand and it is ideal that you can choose how you actually want to use them.
Yet we also faced a number of disadvantages. So the game offer to date is very limited, though this is something that we already know that this will be expanded in the coming months. In addition, the Switch is still very difficult to deliver, so interested people still have to have a lot of patience. As far as those two points are concerned, you may wonder whether Nintendo has not launched its Switch too early. The most annoying point, however, is the fact that the screen can be damaged by taking the tablet in and out of the dock. Here, Nintendo really had to provide protection. The battery could also have lasted longer for a device that is partly geared to outdoor use.
Price and availability
It is quite a challenge to find the device in the shops more than two months after the release of the Nintendo Switch. The game computer is also often sold out on webshops. It is therefore waiting for a new load to arrive. The Nintendo Switch is, provided it is available, for an amount of 329 euros over the counter.